Friday, March 16, 2012

District Of The Day Reboot: Iowa Senate District 6, Iowa House District 11 & 12

Senate District 6
Registration: D 11228, R 13883, N 17216, total 42354, R +2655
Open Seat (Steve Kettering, R-Lake View, retiring) Contested Republican primary

I was a little surprised by Kettering's retirement, in part because the 2.5 term incumbent probably got the least changed rural district in the state. The seat keeps Buena Vista, Sac, and Carroll counties intact and also has pretty much the same chunk of eastern Crawford. Tiny Audubon County is added.

Democrat Mary Bruner of Carroll got in early and drew positive press. The combination of a solid candidate and family ties -- Mike Gronstal is a cousin -- puts this seemingly unlikely western Iowa turf on the possible pickup list.

Republicans reportedly struggled for a candidate in the wake of Kettering's retirement. Now they have three: Carroll's newly elected mayor, Adam Schweers, Crawford County supervisor Mark Segebart, and Sac County sheriff's deputy Matthew Biede (he has the relatively high-profile job of K9 officer). If friends and neighbors becomes a factor, Carroll County is about twice the population of Sac. But the two together are only half the district.

The House lines change a bit within the Senate district, to the mutual benefit of the two opposite-party incumbents.

House District 11
Registration: D 4643, R 7477, N 7924, total 20049, R +2834
Incumbent: Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake

Worthan has been comfortable since winning a December 2006 special, pulling 66% in 2008 and 74% in 2010 year. In the new map he gains a chunk of Sac and about 500 Republicans, to give him some of the cleanest House lines in the state: exactly Sac and Buena Vista counties, no more, no less. No Democratic names yet.

Gary Worthan for Iowa House finance reports

House District 12
Registration: D 6585, R 6406, N 9292, total 22305, D +179
Incumbent: Dan Muhlbauer, D-Manning

How does a late-starting replacement candidate score the only Democratic gain of the horrible, horrible 2010 cycle?

First, your five term nice guy Republican incumbent, Rod Roberts, runs a long-shot race for governor. Then Republicans nominate "the worst candidate ever," Daniel Dirkx, who clearly has absolutely no idea what the job entails. Then the Democratic nominee steps down for some reason, and you're there: a county supervisor whose dad served in the legislature before you. It's such a good thing that even leading Republicans in Carroll endorse you and you win by a whopping 1900 votes.

This is how Dan Muhlbauer arrived in the legislature. He's carved a cautious course, defecting from the party on a few high profile votes. He voted with the GOP on marriage equality and nuclear power votes, and was the only Democrat to support Kim Pearson's total abortion ban bill that even most Republicans opposed.

Daniel Muhlbauer for State Representative has $10,265 of mostly PAC money in the bank. His opponent, Carroll Republican Barney Bornhoft, joined the race right at the filing deadline. Carroll County ambulance director and tea partier Bill Fish discussed running but didn't follow through.

The line changes turn a slim Republican registration edge into a slim Democratic edge. Still swingy, but better. Carroll County still dominates the district. Muhlbauer also keeps a more or less the same chunk of a few townships in western Crawford, up to but not including Denison. He drops the small piece of Sac (which he lost to Dirkx) to Worthan and instead gets all of Audubon County. The changes turn a 195 Republican Registration edge into an equally slim Democratic edge.

Original post 5/02/2011 Statewide Map: Front | Back (with City Insets) | Old Senate, House

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